What is it?
File sharing means sharing data between computers that are connected by a local area network like an Ethernet, or sharing across the internet, such as when unrelated computers use peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs like BitTorrent to upload and download large files.
How does it work?
File sharing websites allow users to search for files, then download them directly to the user's computer. With very large files, however, programs like BitTorrent are needed to break the data into smaller units which can then be accessed by multiple peers. Another program, a downloader, then reassembles the units into the original file for use on your computer.
Why is it useful?
File sharing is useful for both types, whether you are sharing files between computers at home, at work or at school, or across the internet from a remote server to your computer.
What do you need to keep in mind about your child and file sharing?
File sharing is a very handy way to get what you need, however not all file sharing is legal. It is a good idea to discuss with your child that file sharing can mean stealing or accessing offensive material. If they have any questions about whether the material is legal or not, it is best to ask an adult to check. Also see BitTorrent for more information about peer-to-peer internet activity.